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I'm working on a brochure for the local 9/12 project. As I review the content, it strikes me as more generally relevant than just that, so I wanted to post it for comments.

We the People, of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

In March of 1765, the British Parliment imposed the Stamp Act, requiring every document printed in the colonies to have a seal bearing the symbol of the King of England. A long-winded, complicated law enacted by a deaf, remote government imposed an illegal and unreasonable tax ... to bail out the East India Tea Company.

250 years later, here we are. After bailing out banks, GM, Chrysler, insurance companies and more, the push for cap-and-trade and government healthcare could raise to nearly 60% government ownership of private enterprise. We’ve begged them to secure the border, read the bills before they vote, stop imposing unreasonable regulations through unaccoutable agencies such as the EPA, protect us from terrorism, stop meddling in the affairs of the states. Last year, the government spent $1.42 trillion more than it took in. Our nation is being spent into oblivion on programs and earmarks the American people don’t want.

The founders in their wisdom understood that a government of the people, by the people for the people started with the people. Increasingly, however, we and the states are losing our rights to a Washington bureaucracy hell bent on their own designs and imposing their will from the top down.

At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Benjamin Franklin was stopped by a woman as he left Indepedence Hall on the final day of deliberation. “Well, Doctor,” she asked, “what have we got - a Republic or a Monarchy?” In his wisdom, Franklin replied simply, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

The 9-12 project is libertarians, republicans, independents, and democrats - every day americans - who have decided that we want to be the people we were on September 12, 2001. The day after America was attacked we were not obsessed with Red States, Blue States or political parties. We were united as Americans, standing together to protect the greatest nation ever created. The day has come when we must ask ourselves, “Can we keep it?”

These are not Democrat or Republican ideas. They’re essential American ones. The American dream isn’t about owning a bigger house, or newer car. The dream is that anyone can acheive anything they set their mind to. That the fruits of our labor and perseverance belong to the individual, not the government. Equal opportunity, not equal outcome. The essence of the dream is that for our children and grandchildren we leave a country more prosperous and more free than we found it.

"The essential principles of our Government... form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty and safety." - Thomas Jefferson

9/12 March on DC: A request

An open letter to the 9/12 project members heading to on Washington, DC on September 12, 2009.

I'm not able join you on the march on Washington on 9/12 because I have commitments here at home. However, I would like to ask that anyone going as part of the 9/12 project please share this with anyone outside the central Ohio 9/12 group that is planning to go.

On Saturday, 9/12, there will be a group of veterans in DC from Ohio, New York, Colorado, Alabama, Florida and perhaps other places as well. These aren't just any vets, they're World War II veterans. Honor Flight, at no cost to the vets, flies them to DC for the day so that they can visit the World War II memorial and a few other sites. Most have never had the chance to see the memorial built in their honor, and this is their only opportunity. I'm not here to promote Honor Flight, as worthy an organization as I believe it is.

I'm writing you because in my discussions with the flight organizers, they're aware of the march on Washington and while I don't speak for them, I think it would be fair to say they're a little bit concerned about the crowds and maybe even a bit skittish about the idea of "protesters" running amuck. My and the flight directors', guardians', and ground crews' only mission and concern is for the vets under our care. I know quite a few of you, and know that of anyone, you are the most willing of any crowd - without a thought - to stand and honor the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, to call them heroes. You are also the least likely of any large group I know to be obnoxious or disrespectful to our country.

I believe I can speak for the 9/12 group when I say the whole reason for the march is not because we believe that America is a bad place and needs radical change, or that we think this latest president is a bad man. We believe our liberty is under attack from years of an ever-growing, ever-consuming, increasingly oppressive, and unbounded federal government who would burn the Constitution if they could figure out how to get Sandy Berger to smuggle it out of the archives. Yelling at the TV hasn't worked. Bold questions, protests, and marches are absolutely our right and if necessary, our responsibility, to ensure the Constitution and our liberty is preserved for future generations.

However. Your path as a group, or perhaps your personal path, will almost certainly at some point intersect with Honor Flight, perhaps at the airports or during your march, as the World War II memorial is directly between the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol building. (Map: http://tinyurl.com/lwl3jb) Please, as you're in Washington, if you see an old guy in a gray t-shirt (picture: http://tinyurl.com/l6e3he), be respectful. Taking a minute to say thank you would be nice, but if not, please be patient. I ask you humbly with no authority, out of respect for the veterans - the living, the ones who have gone on, and the 400,000 marked by the field of stars who never came home: be aware of your surroundings. Try to save the shouting, yelling, chanting or other overt displays for areas not near and around the war memorials, especially the World War II memorial.

Thank you in advance

Honesty | Reverence | Hope | Thrift | Humility | Charity

1. America Is Good.
2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.

Sincerity | Moderation | Hard Work | Courage | Personal Responsibility | Gratitude
I've been participating in the Honor Flight program for a little over a year now. At no cost to them, we take World War II veterans to Washington, DC for the day so that they can visit the WWII memorial. Very few have ever seen it, many have never been to Washington, DC and some have never flown on an airplane. Many died before it was built. Many more will die before we have the chance to get them there.

One of my roles is that of guardian, serving as escorts and guides for the vets for the day. Today I was working on the ground crew. I was at the airport at 0530 helping the vets and the guardians get ready for the flight. A friend recently wrote and said in part

Glad you don't feel weird about doing it. I'd feel awkward as can be. Now, if I was accompanying vets to go drive a tank or something that would be fun. But the reminiscing, emotional support...wow.

Real honestly, it isn't easy for me, mostly because I'm such an introvert. But these guys are stronger than you'd think. Some of them break down, but that is usually one of us. Most vets have never told their stories. Many die having never shared with anyone - even their own wives and families - what they did. It isn't that they aren't proud of their service, but rather they went to war because they believed it was their duty because they love their country. Those who came home considered themselves fortunate, or worse. They were almost always greeted with a small amount of cash and a bus ticket back to their hometown. They got jobs, raised families, and often served in their churches and communities. Many who know them don't even know they're veterans.

This trip serves so many purposes. Not only is it our way to say "thank you" but it is a chance for them to open up to their families and share the stories, and the demons, that they have held onto for 60 years. We bring them home to their families in the evening and provide a kind of homecoming at the airport they never expected or believed they deserved. Typically a few hundred people turn out just to stand in a line and say "thank you".

On a recent trip, my vet - the one I was assigned to as a guardian - told me that when Pearl Harbor was attacked, he was only 17. Two days after that awful December Sunday, he signed up - volunteered to go to war for his country. That kind of selflessness is an inspiration. I don't want to get up at 0430, I don't really want to be social as it were. Then I stop and realize that these things do not even rise to the level of a minor inconvenience. It is an honor and a privilege to serve these men (and occasional woman) for just one day.

Gov. Sanford's Affair

A friend made an interesting point about affairs in response to my Facebook posting on Gov. Sanford of SC admitting infidelity at a press conference today, after having gone AWOL for several days. Facebook doesn't allow more than a short response.

Here's what she said:
I don't understand why these politicians all feel the need to come clean about their affairs. Who cares - I certainly don't. People have extramarital affairs all the time and they certainly don't get fired or resign because someone finds out. While I personally feel cheating on your spouse is wrong, who am I to be the morality police?

The difference for politicians is that we place them in a position of public trust. We expect (or should) more of them because we delegate some of our power to them for a time so that they can uphold and defend the Constitution, and conduct the normal business of government.

Character matters, and it begins at home. If someone isn't honest and trustworthy in marriage - violates their family - I think it says something about how they are likely to conduct business in which they don't have as much personal stake. We entrust politicians with things like budgets (*our* tax dollars), the national guard, the creation and enforcement of laws, etc.

Too many politicians come out and "admit" their affairs after they're caught. More often than not it seems little more than narcissistic camera hounding, giving them a sick thrill and simultaneously hoping that the admission itself would erase the tarnish of being caught in the act, liberating them from any consequences resulting from their actions. Gov. Sanford resigned as head of the Republican Governors Association. To his credit, he didn't have to be forced or voted out. He knew he did something seriously dumb, and seems to be accepting the consequences of his actions.

I believed him over the last few months when he talked about defending the sovereignty of South Carolina by refusing the federal money because it came with chains more than strings attached. He wanted to use the money - tax dollars that South Carolinians paid to the US Treasury themselves - to pay down his state's debt, instead of unwisely being forced by the federal government into investing in programs that would burden the tax payers of South Carolina long after the stimulus dollars ran out. This is a rare and admirable stand to take against overwhelming pressure. (Contrast to the government of California who have spent themselves right into bankruptcy and are now coming to the federal government - the other 49 of us - begging to be bailed out.) I believe Gov. Sanford understands that we as states are not agents of the federal government, and he took a stand.

However, Gov. Sanford violated a sacred oath to his wife and his children. How they deal with this as a family is their business now. We have a right, a responsibility, to hold politicians accountable for their words and deeds. A man gives his word to his bride with the simple phrase "I do". If that vow isn't sacred, then what makes that man fit to wield the power of government for and over us?

TiVo cablecard woes

Ever since shortly after getting cable cards for my S3, it "loses" channels seemingly randomly. It was a pretty rare thing at first, once a month or so a channel would just be black. Not all channels, and usually not more than one. The problem has gotten progressively worse over the last 10 months or so - happening more and more often. I've noticed that changing the channel seems to cause the behavior. That is, switch to a channel and it will show the programming for about 1 - 1.5 seconds and then go black. This is happening every day or so now. A couple of days ago I was at home and the TiVo switched both tuners to record shows and both stopped working - just a black screen.

I've changed from 2 single-stream cards to 2 multi-stream cards as per TiVo support's direction, but it didn't help. Within the last week or so, I've had the box itself replaced, but that hasn't helped either. I can't get a straight answer from TiVo as to where the problem is. Some say it is an issue with the cablecards not being properly authorized, others say it is a software issue that is my fault because I have 9.x on the box. (Too bad it wasn't my choice, and the replacement box has 8.0, with the same problems). Still another says it is a problem with Scientific Atlanta cablecards. I'm trying to figure out if Timewarner has Motorola cable cards, but I'm seriously doubting it. One suggestion from TiVo was to just power down and reboot when the channel stops working. That is annoying - there goes 10 minutes of the show I was trying to watch while waiting for the TiVo to reboot. This is also not useful if I'm not home -- because this happens both when I change the channel manually and when the TiVo does so to record something.

While on the phone with TiVo the other night, one of the "missing" channels came back on its own. From black screen to clear picture with no prompting. Other times, it will go for the entire length of a show it should be recording and not actually record anything - because the TiVo doesn't think it has anything to record.

Except - the "signal strength" meter for the channel looks normal - 95-97%. Really, really frustrated that such an expensive piece of equipment has such an incomprehensible problem.


Ubuntu thought the disk was a sound card?

Had some problems with my Ubuntu server at home which I wasn't able to resolve - something with the BIOS settings getting lost when the power went out rearranging the disks in such a way that the box wouldn't boot. There was more to it than that, but after a few hours of diagnostics and getting nowhere I just decided to reinstall the OS. I wanted to upgrade from 6.x to 8.04 anyways.

Everything seemed to be fine, until I powered down the box last night to put it behind a UPS. I first noticed the problem when I logged in remotely and it couldn't cd into my /home directory, which is on a separate physical disk than the OS. First off, I'm not entirely sure why, but Ubuntu is treating the IDE disk as a scsi device. I don't think this is a problem per-se, but seems strange.

tinman kernel: scsi 2:0:0:0: Direct-Access     ATA      ST3320620A       3.AA PQ: 0 ANSI: 5
tinman kernel: sd 2:0:0:0: [sdb] 625142448 512-byte hardware sectors (320073 MB)
tinman kernel: sd 2:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
tinman kernel: sd 2:0:0:0: [sdb] Write cache: enabled, read cache: enabled, doesn't
   support DPO or FUA

The problem is the next line of the log

Jun 27 21:48:31 tinman kernel: [   39.495985]  
   sdb:<6>input: PC Speaker as /devices/platform/pcspkr/input/input4

So not only is the PATA drive a SCSI device, but now it is a sound device as well? Being detected as a sound device, I believe is what caused the filesystem to appear corrupt, but there were no complaints when the disk was mounted

tinman kernel: [   83.035617] EXT3 FS on sdb2, internal journal
tinman kernel: [   83.035621] EXT3-fs: mounted filesystem with ordered data mode.

The complaints started later trying to read the disk

tinman kernel: [  157.659996] attempt to access beyond end of device
tinman kernel: [  157.660003] sdb2: rw=32, want=37486616, limit=530082
tinman kernel: [  157.664594] attempt to access beyond end of device

Because it is sdb, and wasn't able to set me up in /home anyways when I logged in, I was able to unmount the disk. I ran e2fsck which said it was clean, so I remounted the partition and everything went normally. It seems fine now, but it is a bit puzzling why the OS decided that the disk looked like a sound device and half-treated it as such? Starting to wonder if there isn't something wrong hardware wise, either with the disk itself or with the controller.


Talking to your IT admins

Looking for thoughts/ideas on how to talk to an IT admin. Started a job a few weeks ago where basically everything outbound except http and https are blocked. This means that ssh tunneling does not work. The traffic is packet inspected by the firewall and the http proxy requires authentication, so just moving ssh to port 443 doesn't work either. The web traffic is filtered, so many things are blocked including gmail.

I've looked into solutions like corkscrew but it looks like it is going to take me a combination of ssh-over-https-proxies to get through it, because some of the tools only support Basic auth and the ISA server only accepts NTLM, Kerberos, and something else. It would be much easier to get to my box at home with its "library of files and tools" if they would just open up port 22.

I'm looking for anyone with ideas on how to talk to the IT admin staff about this. I've emailed them several times, and am not getting any response at all. I even included my MAC addresses and suggested they just unblock those. I've talked to my supervisor, and so far no luck - they mostly just don't know what to do about it and the answers provided by the IT team range from the absurd to just dumb. Unfortunately, this is the same IT staff who:

- don't know that terminal services is running on one of the windows 2003 servers I need access to (or insist that it isn't running on the system at all)
- apparently when their company bought our company, dismantled the VPN because it was "insecure"
- set up a remote terminal services system exposed to the internet with the entire thing locked down (only one app is available, and the start menu is useless) as a solution for VPN/remote access.
- block gmail because it "has viruses"
- refuse to give the software developers, including those writing drivers, admin rights to their windows box

I don't know who is responsible for these guys or who made up these "policies" but it seems like they just do whatever they want. My impression is that this team (who work out of the parent company's office) is led by a guy who only cares that giving local admin rights to anyone would supposedly cause him to have to do more work to fix broken systems. Obviously that means that he is actively interfering with the business process of the org, but since no one seems to know what to do about it I'm throwing it out there to the three readers of this journal :)

How would you talk to your IT administrators about opening up port 22? Unblocking gmail? Putting the VPN back up? The only way the developers have admin rights on their own computers is the local VPs have domain admin rights to log in and let us reconfigure our own boxes - but this is not something we discuss with or even talk to the IT people about, which I don't think is right, but we don't seem to have much choice because they're basically uncooperative. The local folks can't modify the network or add new services like VPN though.

So how would you talk to windows sysadmins and convince them that they're being unreasonable?
FoxNews Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., said every time an evacuation [of the capitol] is ordered, it has usually been caused by a private pilot in a small plane using an old map. Ross suggested that the size of the plane is irrelevant because one dirty bomb could do a lot of damage. But, he said, sending everyone a map could be done for the money spent on one evacuation.

"I'm sure its running a million dollars every time there's an evacuation, wouldn't it make a lot more sense to send every private pilot in America one of the updated maps?" he asked.

Maybe the congressman can get a clue before he opens his mouth. Sectionals are about $7 each, and updated every few months, and pilots are required by regulations to have current information. Any pilot with half a clue knows where the ADIZ is located, congressman. The problem isn't a lack of maps, it is pilots who aren't doing what they are supposed to, or just get lost. And they get busted for it. There is no reason for any pilot not to have current information. Sending the ones who are going to violate the ADIZ a map is going to waste OUR $55, because they're not going to use it anyways. (Thats how much each sectional would cost to send to every registered pilot of congress decided it had to be done.)

If it costs a million dollars to evacuate the capitol building, maybe we can not evacuate and see how happy they are.


OS X Default keys

Some default key bindings in OS X are, honestly, annoying. Especially the home/end keys. Of the "big three" desktop OSes, Mac seems to be the odd man out. Most windows/linux applications treat home/end the same way. In the OS X terminal application, the home key sends you to the top of the scroll buffer. The end key sends you to the end of the window's scroll buffer. Not the expected behavior. Home means "home" - the beginning of the line. End means "end" - the end of the line. Pgup and pgdn are supposed to serve to move in large chunks around the buffer. I can't count the number of times I've hit the end key expecting to get to the end of the line (like while I'm typing this post) and instead get the end of the buffer. Highly annoying to have my work interrupted by this constantly. Instead of me trying to learn how to use yet another interface/computer, I'm making the computer learn this time.

Here is how to remap the home/end keys in the terminal application

Terminal>Window Settings>Keyboard



the 033 part can be obtained by ^[ (aka ctrl+[ )

After doing that, you need to modify (or create) your .inputrc file to contain the following

# Be 8 bit clean.
set input-meta on
set output-meta on
set convert-meta off

# allow the use of the Home/End keys
"\e[1~": beginning-of-line
"\e[4~": end-of-line

# allow the use of the Delete/Insert keys
"\e[3~": delete-char
"\e[2~": quoted-insert

Restart the terminal and you'll be good. Firefox, however still acts whacked out. That one is more complicated.


My Dog Ate My Homework ... No, really

Taking an aviation survey class this quarter. Our first assignment involved two different paper airplanes. It sounds really cliche, but my dog ate my homework. The scraps are what is left of my delta wing plane. Fortunately I already ran my flight tests, wrote and turned in the paper before she got to it...